Will COVID-19 disappear in summers? Here's what global health experts say
As the novel coronavirus or SARS-CoV-2 continues posing threat to countries, scientists and researchers from all over the globe are trying to learn more and more about the fatal virus each day. One thought that has been lingering in the minds of people worldwide, especially Indians, is that will the spread of COVID-19 subside in summers.
There has been a lot of talk regarding the correlation between warm weather and the China-originated virus, which has led the general public to form varied opinions. During the initial days of the COVID-19 outbreak, several health experts, including the ones at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), were of the opinion that the novel coronavirus will die down as the temperatures will soar. However, things have dramatically changed since then.
Why the assumption that summers will kill the new coronavirus?
People assumed that the novel coronavirus will mitigate in summers because of the 2002 SARS epidemic. SARS, a member of the coronavirus family, spread worldwide infecting thousands but disappeared rather quickly when the temperatures rose.
The assumption is also fueled by the fact that the flu caused by other types of coronaviruses is mostly seasonal and do not spread much in summers.
Here's what WHO said
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned countries to not assume that COVID-19 will be seasonal, like the flu.
Dr Mike Ryan, Executive Director of WHO's Health Emergencies Program, said, "We have to assume that the virus will continue to have the capacity to spread. It's a false hope to say that it will disappear like the flu."
He stressed that there is no evidence that SARS-CoV-2 will not be active during summers. "If it subsides, that would be a godsend. But we can't make that assumption," he said.
EU report backs WHO's claim
A fresh report by the European Union agency for disease control states the COVID-19 pandemic could continue even during the summers. It observes that SARS-CoV-2 is unlike the other members of the coronavirus family which died down in warmer months.
The agency advised countries that the only way to combat the spread of the disease is by undertaking stern measures at the right time.
India's Health Ministry's opinion
The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is on the same page as the WHO and the EU agency. It has repeatedly said that even though flu is not common in summer, there is no evidence or study to suggest that the COVID-19 won't spread in high temperatures.
So far, the novel coronavirus has infected more than 4 lakh globally and has claimed the lives of over 18,000.